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Platforms asked to verify job postings

By Hou Liqiang in Beijing and Zhang Min in Tianjin | China Daily | Updated: 2017-08-04 09:17

Technology may provide answer, Zhipin CEO says on Tencent news

Experts called for job recruitment websites to strengthen their verification of information after a graduate student apparently received an offer from scammers posing as recruiters for a Beijing-based company.

The graduate student, Li Wenxing, was found dead in a pond in Tianjin's Jinghai district on July 14. An autopsy found that he had drowned.

Police said it's "highly likely" that the 23-year-old was somehow connected with a pyramid scheme organization, as a notebook with pyramid scheme content was found with his body. But the investigation is continuing and the police have not said why Li died.

Li graduated from Northeast University in Shenyang, Liaoning province, in 2016

Scammers, including operators of pyramid sales schemes, have been known in the past to entrap their targets through offers of lucrative financial returns, and then move to forms of extortion and even kidnapping.

According to, which interviewed Li's friends and members of his family in Dezhou, Shandong province, Li got what he believed to be an offer from a Beijing-based company's branch in Jinghai via recruitment app Zhipin before he exhibited uncharacteristic behavior and went missing.

Li's mother said he told her in his last call not to give money to anyone, the report said. Li himself never borrowed money, the website quoted family members as saying, yet he recently asked for money three times.

According to the report, Li's high school classmate Ding Xiangcheng said Li discussed the job offer - a supposed position as a software engineer - before he left for Tianjin.

The purported recruiters, apparently posing as employees of Beijing-headquartered software company Csii, may have offered Li the job after a phone interview, Ding said. Csii, however, said in an online statement that the people who contacted Li in the company's name were not its employees.

"The recruitment industry has been struggling for years with offers from pyramid operators," Zhao Peng, CEO of Zhipin, was quoted as saying on Tencent's news platform. "With the help of artificial intelligence and other technology, it's possible the problem could be eliminated. We can't stop pyramid schemes and fraud, but we should make an effort to get these off our platform."

Regulations governing online information services make it clear that platform operators should ensure that information on the platform is legal - whether they charge for the service or not - and platforms that fail to verify are subject to legal liability, said Shen Binti, a lawyer at Beijing-based Zhongwen Law Firm.

It's common to find recruitment websites where unverified information may be published. It's not a loophole in technology but in management, Liu Deliang, a law professor at Beijing Normal University, was quoted as saying by Beijing News.

The Cyberspace Administration of China launched a campaign last year targeting illegal activities related to recruitment websites, including fraud and offers of sales jobs by pyramid schemes. The administration shut down 16 recruitment websites in the campaign.

Recruitment websites are a major channel for graduates to find jobs in China. According to a 2016 report published by, a leading recruitment website, about 60 percent of 2016 university graduates use recruitment sites, more than double the number who choose campus recruitment channels.

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